AIA profit in line with most forecasts

Auckland International Airport added a touch of realism to its profit forecasts after yesterday reporting a profit for the year ended June in line with most forecasts.

The company, which has shares in Queenstown Airport, reported operating earnings of $355.2 million, up 7.4% on the previous corresponding period.

Total revenue was up 6.1% at $475.8 million and reported profit rose 21.3% to $215.9 million.

Total passenger movements were up 3.8% at 15.1 million, with international passengers rising 5.1% to 8.2 million and domestic passengers up 2.2% at 6.9 million.

A final dividend of 7 cents per share was declared.

Craigs Investment Partners broker Chris Timms said the outlook was disappointing but realistic.

The company did not want to produce forecasts it could not meet.

''The outlook for 2015 is the same as it was for 2014 at this time last year.''

Auckland Airport was forecasting reported underlying profit to be between $160 million and $170 million.

Because of the lower shares on issue, guidance equated to a 2% to 9% lift in earnings per share.

Before digesting the latest result, Craigs had been forecasting adjusted reported profit of $173 million for next year, Mr Timms said.

Regulated aeronautical revenue growth of 8.6% was ahead of the group's overall growth of 6.1%.

''We remain concerned this is an unhealthy differential as the aeronautical revenue is on its way to exceed the allowable return and is likely to be cut back at the next price reset of 2018.

''In the presentation, the company has a slide on regulation.

"We continue to believe the company is not yet highlighting the risk enough,'' Mr Timms said.

The retail contribution disappointed as the passenger spend fell 2.4%, but at least it showed some improvement on the first-half spend fall of 3.1%.

Staff costs were up 6.4% because of the accrual of long-term incentive provisions after the continued strong company and share price performance.

The accounts showed Auckland Airport's share of profit from associated companies increased 17.2% to $11.6 million in the period under review.

The profit share from North Queensland Airports increased 15.2% to $8.1 million, Queenstown Airport was up 25.7% at $1.7 million and the Novotel Hotel was up 19.2% at $1.9 million.

Mr Timms said the improved performance of Queenstown Airport added substantially to the Queenstown Lakes District Council's investment and to the Queenstown area overall.

''What Auckland Airport has is the expertise to attract airlines to New Zealand and push their passengers through to Queenstown.''

Company chairman Sir Henry van der Heyden said Auckland Airport had focused on developing travel markets and investing in the retail, property and long-term infrastructure needed to take full advantage of growth opportunities.

As a result there had been additional airline capacity and services flying into Auckland.

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